If you’re not a Game of Thrones (GoT) fan, you’ll most likely be an innocent bystander that is forced to hear about from your friends and co-workers. For those that don’t watch it, it’s one of the most popular TV shows in history, with over 17.4 million people viewing the first episode of Season 8 which aired the other week. That is one giant audience.
The concept of Game of Thrones, based on the fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, is basically war and power struggles between different groups of people to take the throne. To add some complications to the mix, an ancient army of ice kings (white walkers) and raised dead people (whites) are now trying to take over the world and turn everyone into zombies.
Now you might be thinking, I don’t care – how does this relate to politics or climate change? Well actually, it has everything to do with it.
Climate change is coming whether you believe it or not
In GoT the army of the dead (white walkers) have been making their way through the kingdoms destroying areas and killing innocent people. Shockingly, many people including the most powerful person (the Queen) don’t believe they are real as they are too busy obsessing over power. Sound familiar? Well, yes – it’s the perfect metaphor for climate change. In 2004, in an interview with Al Jazeera George R. R. Martin noted the likeness:
“…people being so consumed by their petty struggles for power … they’re blind to the much greater and more dangerous threats… climate change … is something that can wipe out the human race. So, I wanted to do an analogue with the work, not specifically to the modern-day thing but as a general thing.”
Women should never be underestimated
Ok, at the beginning of the show I was thinking, “Wow, this show is so sexist all the women are just portrayed as weak sex objects”. As the series went on I was pleasantly surprised; one of the most common themes is women being underestimated and then absolutely kicking the shit out of life (and some men). The women are also multidimensional, not fitting into any stereotypical boxes that society likes. Let’s consider the following:
Daenerys Targaryen aka everyone’s favourite actress Emilia Clarke, is the Queen of Dragons who was originally sold as a slave wife by her own brother who portrayed her as weak. Her husband dies, she loses her son and then emerges from a pile of flames (stay with me). She slowly becomes the kingdom’s most powerful leader (with the support of her three dragons) and as leader, abolishes slavery. She’s a badass, fearless and kind leader.
Then there’s Missandei, the current advisor to Daenerys, who is also a kickass woman. First a shy slave rescued by Daenerys, to be revealed as an incredibly smart leader who speaks 19 languages. She also holds her own surrounded by idiotic men.
Let’s not forget Ayra Stark who is forced to fit into the ‘cute little girl’ box, with her sister who wants to marry the future king and focusses on her attractiveness. Ayra wants to fight like her brothers, so her dad lets her start sword training in private. Half of her family is murdered, she is beaten and then *bang* she becomes an assassin and kills everyone that has crossed her. She even makes her family’s murderer eat his own sons in a pie. In my opinion, she is without a doubt the best female character and fights the female stereotype.
Politics should be about intelligence not power
The ridiculous idiots that are currently in power around the world, *cough* Donald Trump *cough cough* Scott Morrison, are sadly real-life and not a TV show. Game of Thrones in a way is parallel to real-life politics, people are obsessed with power rather than actually taking action to help the people it represents. Lots of people have needlessly died in both the fictional show of GoT and in real life, through needless wars in the struggle for power. Politicians are so transfixed with amassing power that they avoid solving real problems. In real life this means politicians dawdle on taking action on climate change, corruption and modern slavery.
Luckily, in real life we are able to vote for our leaders. The Australian Federal Election is coming up Saturday 18th May. While you can no longer register to vote for this year’s election, make sure you do for future elections. An intelligent society needs intelligent leaders in power!
We don’t have Jon Snow or any dragons to save us, but people have the power
Jon Snow has been fighting to save people from being killed by the army of the dead, mostly having to try to convince people that an enemy they don’t believe in is going to kill them (insert climate change parallel).
We don’t live in a fantasy world, but the danger of climate change is just as terrifying and disastrous as an army of undead people. We may not have dragons or Jon Snow to rescue us, but we can help ourselves. Take action, start talking to others about creating change and vote vote vote. The power is with the people, and in a true democracy, leadership listens to its people.
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Title image of cast of Game of Thrones via HBO.